The Most Stigmatized Disorder

Over the past several decades, society has become significantly more understanding of, and to some degree compassionate towards, mental health. However, there is one mental disorder that receives overwhelming and universally-negative stigma.

One might think it is psychopathy, as psychopaths will hurt and kill people. Obviously this is not the case, as many killers, such as TJK, have fan bases, some have love interests, and we have plenty of movies featuring intelligent-but-intriguing psychopaths like Hannibal Lecter.

An argument could be made for pedophilia being the most hated, but unfortunately this is not the case. Some aspects of sexual grooming have become legitimized and defended by mainstream North American society, and there are activists for “Minor Attracted People”, or MAPs, who have released some highly questionable material from their positions as professors in universities. So it’s not pedos.

The most hated disorder, bar none, is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Characterized not by grandiosity necessarily, but by a persona or facade that is maintained at the expense of everything and everyone that is often grandiose but sometimes martyr-like, narcissists are extremely hated. For example, advice videos on dealing with narcissists don’t usually focus on compassion, but on “putting the narcissist in their place” or “three things that hurt a narcissist the most“. Clearly, there is not a lot of compassion for people with this disorder.

But why?

Put simply, if you kill or rape someone, people might be unhappy about it but they can see a pleasure-motivation of some kind and understand it. If you are a pedo, people will just assume you were pedo’d as a kid and can still “understand” what has gone on. However, narcissists are so destructive interpersonally that people who get close to them simply cannot understand why they act the way they do. People cannot understand betrayal, especially when the relationship was going fine and would have continued to be great.

What is not appreciated about the narcissist is the deep level of pain and trauma that causes them to be so unbalanced. This trauma seems so deep, that even though Dialectical Behavioral Skills therapy has been developed for Borderline Personality Disorder, we have not yet developed a reliable mechanism for helping people who are well along the narcissism spectrum heal from their self-wounds.

But even then, we struggle to wrap our heads around the betrayal and lack of care. Rough times.